The numbers and details are slowly rising to the top.
The Midlothian Independent School District Bond Steering Committee heard initial figures Thursday night on the cost of building a new high school and the price tag for new elementary schools.
Leesa Vardeman told the BSC that construction costs are skyrocketing and the industry is experiencing 8 percent inflation per year. It typically takes three years to build a high school and 18-months to construct an elementary school.
"We built a 2,500 student high school for Keller ISD in 2002 at a cost of $53M," said Vardeman. "We've seen roughly 32 percent inflation since that time and that building today would cost $70M to build."
The BSC was never given an exact cost for a high school or elementary school.
Vardeman did say a high school typically costs $160- to $165-per-square-foot. She also quoted elementary schools at roughly $145- to 150-per-square-foot.
Midlothian elementary school average 92,000-square-feet. A high school would be more than three times that size.
The math puts elementary schools costing $13.34 million to build. A high school is expected to cost $60 million to $70 million to construct.
"And those numbers are for construction costs only," said Vardeman. "Those figures do not include to cost for land or to furnish those buildings."
Midlothian already has purchased property for its next high school at the corner of FM 1387 and Walnut Grove Road. A sign was erected on the site more than a year ago.
Also at Thursday's meeting, the 53 BSC members present were asked to list the type of facilities needed by MISD.
A second high school topped all lists and was followed by more elementary schools and then the need for a new middle school in two years. An ag barn also made it onto most lists.
Athletic facilities were not discussed.
MISD Superintendent J.D. Kennedy urged the BSC to not build single grade schools, citing studies that show kids do better when they have a couple of years to get used to buildings.
Kennedy also pointed to information presented to the district three years ago that said smaller class sizes had a measurable impact on student performance.
"In 2003 the GMC (Growth Management Committee) spent several weeks studying grade configurations and buildings sizes and capacity," said Kennedy. "We broke our elementary schools into K through 5th grade and 750 students, middle schools at 1,200 students and high schools with less than 2,500 kids."
The district is also set up where three elementary schools graduate kids into a middle school and two middle schools feed into a high school
Three years ago the Midlothian Independent School District was handed numbers saying they would need a new high school by the fall of 2010.
J.R. Irvin Elementary School and Longbranch Elementary School will reach capacity in the 2008-09 school year. Mt. Peak Elementary is expected to reach its capacity of 818 students in the fall of 2009.
But Midlothian has a sixth elementary school opening on Suddith Road in the fall of 2008 and if the district decides to redraw attendance zones - and they have given every indication they will - elementary school needs would be pushed back three to four years.
The BSC heard from demographer Bob Templeton at its last meeting. Templeton handed out known population figures and gave his forecast for growth.
"MISD enrollment history shows steady growth since 1999," said Templeton. "The district is averaging between 6- and 9-percent a year and anything over 5 percent is considered significant."
Templeton pointed out MISD saw 209 new elementary school students enroll last year. A typical elementary school holds about 650 to 700 students comfortably.
"Your high school is growing by about 130 to 170 students a year," Templeton said. "It takes roughly a year to design and get the permits to build a high school and then two years to actually build it. By 2012 you will most definitely need a new high school."
MISD officials have said the Suddith Road elementary school site could also accommodate the district's third middle school.
Templeton said his numbers show Midlothian's economy is in good shape and the Metroplex as a whole as one of the fastest growing job markets in the nation.
"Annual (home) closings in Midlothian are running about 596 a year," said Templeton. "I predict the district will add over 2,500 additional students over the next five years."
Templeton said in 2003 the district should anticipate opening a new school every year for the next eight years.
The BSC was formed this summer to help the district decide what the community needs, present that idea to MISD Trustees and then turn around and help sell that bond issue to the community.
The 2007 Midlothian ISD Bond Steering Committee is: Kathy Armstrong, Dee Arterburn, Shara Backus, Jimmy Bailey, Becky Blackburn, Brian Blackwell, David Boswell, Dawn Brown, Robin Bullock, Bill Burdett, Duke Burge, Heidi Byrum, Nena Challenner, Karen Childers, Karen Cox, Dan Dunegan, Jean Embry, Joe Fallis, Pat Farrell, Scott Fertig, Bridget Flaherty, Gina Florence, Kim Gilson, Gregory Glenn, Sherry Goldman, Alicia Gonzalez, Doug Hankins, Jana Hathorne, Gail Haynes, Al Hemmle, Sandra Hill, Don Hogg, William Houston, Roger Jaffe, John Johnson, Larry Keiser, J.D. Kennedy, Sid Kuykendall, Tony Lokash, Ken Marks, Mike Marshall, Steve Massey, Vicki Massey, Matt McKay, Monte Mechler, Jim Mentzel, Tom Moore, Davis Morgan, Richard Norman, Kirk Paschall, Norman Pender, Donald Reese, William Reese, Richard Reno, Jay B. Roberts, Danny Rodgers, Tim Savins, Phil E. Seay, Wayne Shuffield, La-shea Slaydon, Carl Smith, Bob Templeton, Coy Tipton, Krista Tipton, Beth Van Amburgh, Leesa Vardeman, Gary Vineyard, Cherie Wagoner, Judy Walling, Andrea Walton, Rhonda Welch, Jamie Wickliffe, Kim Wiens, Cindy Williams, Rene Williams, Dee Wilson and Lori Worley.